How to Do the Muscle Snatch for Better Weightlifting Performance

In the event you’re on the hunt for a brand new approach to enhance your weightlifting sport, the muscle snatch is an absolute game-changer. The muscle snatch will help you construct explosive leg energy, train you the way to be a strong and aggressive vertical puller, and reinforce strong snatching mechanics besides. 

The large quantities of energy and management that you’ll earn from the muscle snatch will solely increase your confidence and unfold throughout all of your main lifts. You’ll be a greater snatcher in, principally, the blink of a watch. 

A person doing the muscle snatch.

That is your deep-dive on the muscle snatch — and why it’s one of many best weightlifting accessory exercises on the market. 

Methods to Do the Muscle Snatch

You may carry out the muscle snatch with a barbell and a few bumper plates, or use it as a way instrument. For that, you’d need a wood dowel or PVC pipe. Right here’s a step-by-step information on the way to do a picture-perfect muscle snatch. 

Step 1 — Set up Your Setup

A person performing the muscle snatch.

Arrange within the beginning place of your snatch. The bar ought to be over the center of your ft, your knees ought to be barely in entrance of the bar, your hips ought to be barely greater than your knees, and your shoulders ought to be atop the bar or barely upfront of it. 

Coach’s Tip: The hook grip is elective for the muscle snatch, although you might wish to use it when studying the motion. 

Step 2 — Drive With Your Legs

A person performing the muscle snatch.

Engage your core and push into the ground together with your legs; the primary half of the muscle snatch is similar to that of the snatch. The barbell ought to depart the bottom and journey up and barely again as your knees lengthen out of the best way. Proceed to push downward with relaxed arms till the bar approaches mid-thigh.

Coach’s Tip: Hold your arms unfastened as you push the bottom away together with your legs. Guarantee your chest and hips are rising on the identical price as nicely.

Step 3 — Aggressive Pull and Turnover

A person performing the muscle snatch.

As the barbell approaches your hips, lengthen your ankles, knees, and hips concurrently to drive it upward. Don’t drop your torso all the way down to catch the bar overhead. As an alternative, stay in a standing place.

Because the bar passes your chest, flip your elbows underneath it and intentionally press it out overhead. Arrive at a powerful, locked-out place with out re-bending your legs at any level.

Coach’s Tip: Hold your elbows stacked on high of the barbell because it travels upward for so long as doable and carry out the “turnover” on the final second. 

Muscle Snatch Units and Reps

The muscle snatch is a superb train that may be executed as a primer earlier than your most important lifts or as a stand-alone exercise to build strength, explosiveness, and improved physique consciousness. Listed here are three of your programming options

  • As a Heat-Up: Carry out 2-3 units of 5-10 reps with an empty barbell; relaxation 1-2 minutes between units.
  • For Power: Carry out 2-4 units of 1-5 reps with moderate-heavy weight on the barbell; relaxation 2-4 minutes between units. 
  • For Muscular Endurance: Carry out a number of units of 10+ reps with a really mild weight on the barbell; relaxation for 1-3 minutes between units.

Widespread Muscle Snatch Errors

The muscle snatch could seem quite simple and straightforward to do, at the very least in comparison with the snatch itself. Nevertheless, there’s a lot that may go incorrect and a number of other issues you may simply overlook. Listed here are just a few widespread errors to look out for thus you will get essentially the most out of the muscle snatch. 

Higher-Physique Reliance

Most weightlifters carry out the muscle snatch with an unloaded or very evenly loaded barbell. As such, you could be tempted to tear the bar off the bottom and use the muscle mass in your upper body too quickly

A person performing the muscle snatch incorrectly.

It doesn’t matter what weight you’re working with, deal with every repetition as if it had been a properly-loaded snatch. Let your decrease physique do the work earlier than you end together with your arms, and keep away from bending your elbows early. Drive with your legs from the beginning. 

Early Elbow Bend

How your arms behave throughout a muscle snatch will decide the trajectory of the place your bar goes. For instance, in case your arms bend too early, you then would possibly find yourself altering the course the bar is touring. As well as, early arm bend can lead you to failing the raise and even growing a foul behavior in your technique, akin to kicking the bar out in entrance of you. 

Going Too Heavy

The muscle snatch is a way instrument, not a strength-building train. If the load is simply too heavy, you received’t be capable of hit the beats of a correct pull. Load too heavy and also you would possibly lean again too far, bend your arms early, or just be unable to drive the bar excessive sufficient within the first place. 

Muscle Snatch Variations

In weightlifting, frequently rotating in some motion variations are important since you may solely do the identical train so usually till it turns into stale and boring. Switching issues up is an effective approach to make sure you’re nonetheless having enjoyable whereas sustaining the spirit of the unique train.

Single-Arm Kettlebell Muscle Snatch

This glorious muscle snatch variation could be performed with a kettlebell and carried out with one or each arms. You’ll nonetheless be reaping the core advantages of a muscle snatch. however now with an added twist of extra unilateral training.

Working with kettlebells is an effective way to induce a distinct sort of stimulation to the muscle mass that bear essentially the most load through the muscle snatch. Moreover, weightlifting is a completely bilateral sport; you’re employed with each arms on the identical time. Accessory exercises are the right time to get some unilateral work in there for selection’s sake. 

Hold Muscle Snatch 

The distinctiveness of this train is that it fully eliminates your entire first portion of the pull, so you might have much less to deal with. This could allow you to generate extra momentum and explosiveness by way of the second pull, to construct extra powerful hips and a powerful overhead place.

The hang muscle snatch can be simpler to study, since there’s a restricted vary of movement. This motion makes for an ideal introduction to the snatch as a complete should you’re considering making an attempt the Olympic lifts. 

No-Contact Muscle Snatch

Hip (or thigh) contact is integral for energy growth in weightlifting. Take away it and also you’ll end up restricted in how a lot drive you may produce. As a coaching instrument, although, no-contact drills could be fairly productive.

In the event you’re susceptible to slamming your hips into the barbell throughout snatches and thus looping the bar outward, deliberately performing the muscle snatch with none hip contact will help you’re feeling what a correct vertical bar path ought to be. The no-contact muscle snatch can even problem your arms and upper back to a better diploma, because you lose some “kick” by not touching the bar to your hips. 

Muscle Snatch Alternate options

Whereas the muscle snatch is without doubt one of the best and most simple equipment within the sport of weightlifting, it’s nonetheless no stroll within the park. Chances are you’ll not have access to a barbell or the inclination towards the train within the first place. In such circumstances, listed here are just a few options: 

Medication Ball Muscle Snatch

This can be a large beginner-friendly possibility for these eager to study the muscle snatch. Most medicine balls are lighter than your common barbell, and due to the form of the ball, gripping it may well really feel extra pure. 

One other advantage of this motion is that holding the ball near your middle of gravity means you received’t have to fret about colliding together with your knees or having a crazy bar path

Sandbag Muscle Snatch

This feature is similar to a medication ball muscle snatch, however lets you apply the train with a broader arm place to imitate the snatch grip position of a muscle snatch.

Moreover, sandbags are inherently unstable. They’re arduous to work with and are susceptible to shifting. In the event you worth upper-body joint stability above all, this might be a great choice to work into your accent coaching.

Hold Dumbbell Muscle Snatch 

Most gyms have a large assortment of dumbbells so that you can work with. As such, you may swap the barbell out and go for a double-dumbbell muscle snatch with a weight that precisely matches your energy ranges.

Dumbbell overhead work can be fairly widespread in CrossFit exercises. In order for you a rock-solid dumbbell snatch, working with dumbbells on your muscle snatches is simply logical. 

Muscle tissues Labored by the Muscle Snatch

The muscle snatch requires you to be mentally and bodily tuned into your physique. Put merely, you want good proprioception. The extra you may perceive what muscle mass are working, the higher you’ll be capable of use them to efficiently full a muscle snatch.


Your legs are the focus of the place you generate energy all through the muscle snatch. The first muscle teams at play are your quadriceps, glutes, and calves. Your quadriceps will allow you to push by way of the ground to increase your legs as you’re elevating the bar from the bottom. The glutes can even help you by extending your hips on the high of the pull, and your calves will present a small quantity of vertical drive as you stand up onto your toes. 


Your potential to brace your core all through the muscle snatch would be the key as to whether or not you’ll make a profitable raise. The primary core muscle mass at play right here would be the transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, and inner and exterior obliques. 

Your erector spinae — that’s your decrease again muscle mass — are additionally thought-about part of your core. You want a strong isometric contraction all through your lumbar backbone to facilitate the switch of drive out of your legs into the barbell.

Higher Again

Your higher again performs an important position in efficiently finishing a muscle snatch. The musculature of the higher again that performs essentially the most work is the trapezius, the latissimus dorsi, and the rotator cuff complicated. 

A person's upper back.
Credit score: SvedOliver / Shutterstock

All of those muscle mass will work isometrically all through the raise as you transition by way of the top part of the second pull as you aggressively pull the bar to elbow top and comply with by way of with the turnover. 


The shoulder complicated consists of many muscle mass together with the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, subscapularis, deltoids, trapezius, and the serratus anterior. For the reason that shoulder is a ball and socket joint, this joint has an incredible quantity of vary of movement. You’ll use these muscle mass in stabilizing the barbell in each phases of the raise and particularly through the turnover portion of the muscle snatch. 

Advantages of the Muscle Snatch

By now should you’re not satisfied that you ought to be doing the muscle snatch, listed here are just a few extra causes that ought to persuade you. 

Builds Explosive Energy 

In the event you’re having a troublesome time being intentional and aggressive together with your leg drive, hip extension, or turnover, the muscle snatch is a superb useful resource for you. Because you’re working with such mild weight relative to how a lot you’re capable of snatch, you might have an ideal alternative to strengthen good mechanics and enhance your energy output. 

Teaches You to Hold the Bar Shut 

A detailed, tight bar path is essential for each of the Olympic lifts. The muscle snatch is especially helpful for studying the way to “maintain the bar shut” as you pull. You may’t drop down and catch the barbell in a squat; you need to ship it straight upward.

Due to this fact, any deviation in bar path will dramatically scale back how a lot you may muscle snatch. You’ll instantly really feel the distinction between a decent, vertical muscle snatch and one with an errant bar path. The motion is invaluable for offering tactile suggestions. 

Reinforces Fixed Stress 

Loads of weightlifters make the error of taking it straightforward throughout light-weighted snatches or cleans, as an alternative of making use of fixed stress to the barbell. Because of this, they’ll develop inconsistent approach.

If you carry out the muscle snatch, the bar should fly as much as arm’s length; should you don’t elevate it excessive sufficient, you may’t carry out the raise. As such, the muscle snatch is phenomenal for encouraging a full and steady pull, reasonably than reducing your energy era brief. 

Encourages Aggression

Olympic-style lifting requires each precision and aggression. It’s essential be clever about your approach and timing whereas additionally being extraordinarily explosive at very particular moments; you may’t have one with out the opposite if you wish to excel.

The intense bar top required through the muscle snatch will drive these factors dwelling for you, whether or not you prefer it or not. In the event you don’t step on the gasoline because the barbell approaches your hip, it won’t fly excessive sufficient to press it out together with your arms. 

Who Ought to Do the Muscle Snatch

You don’t essentially have to be a weightlifter to put in the muscle snatch into your program. That stated, it’s, above all, an Olympic lifting accent motion. Right here’s why it’s so essential to weightlifting coaching and the way it applies to athletes off the platform as nicely. 


The snatch and clean & jerk — weightlifting’s two aggressive disciplines — are greater than the sum of their components. That stated, every particular person half issues, and any good weightlifter ought to have at the very least one accent train of their toolbox to handle each particular person side of every raise.

The muscle snatch is a useful complement to the snatch as a result of it reinforces all of the crucial components of snatching; power development, correct timing, and a vertical bar path. It’s additionally pretty grab-and-go, which means you don’t have to undergo a strong warm-up or mobilization routine to start out muscle snatching. 

CrossFit Practitioners

CrossFit programming attracts closely on the game of weightlifting for a lot of of its varied exercises. Nevertheless, in CrossFit, snatches or cleans are sometimes performed with submaximal weights for many repetitions strung together.

A Crossfitter performing the muscle snatch.
Credit score: UfaBizPhoto / Shutterstock

The muscle snatch is a superb possibility for drilling your bar path, which ought to carry over to your metcons or weightlifting-inspired WODs. A decent bar path means much less vitality wasted, which suggests you may string a number of reps collectively in fast succession. 

Muscle It Up

Approach, management, and energy all matter within the sport of weightlifting. The snatch and clear & jerk could also be lower-body-dominant exercises, however that doesn’t imply your arms and shoulders don’t have anything to do together with your success.

The muscle snatch teaches you the way to use your upper body properly. By deliberately lifting “incorrectly” — that’s, pulling and urgent on the barbell together with your arms to get it over your head — you may trick your self into doing it proper when it issues.

It’s additionally an enormous confidence-builder to have one single motion that reinforces almost each side of sound efficiency. In spite of everything, good apply makes good on the platform, and the muscle snatch will help get you there. 


Listed here are some generally requested questions in regards to the muscle snatch that could be of use to you. 

Why ought to I do the muscle snatch?

The muscle snatch serves as an adjunct train in weightlifting, meant to enhance your timing, bar path, and upper-body strength through the snatch itself.

How heavy ought to I’m going on the muscle snatch?

Relating to the muscle snatch, lifting heavy isn’t the main target; approach and management are what matter. If the bar is simply too heavy, you’ll lose out on lots of beneficial tactile suggestions that carries over to the snatch itself. Your muscle snatches ought to be mild and snappy.

When ought to I do the muscle snatch?

Most weightlifters will carry out muscle snatches early on of their coaching classes as a part of their warm-up. Doing so will help you prime your thoughts to hit all of the beats of a great snatch once you begin loading up your barbell.

Featured Picture: Riley Stefan

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